I discovered clay in 2003, and quickly fell in love with its wonderful malleability; it can take any shape and possesses a nearly infinite variety of surface possibilities. Working in a variety of sizes, my pieces range from wall-mounted reliefs to free-standing works. I am very much inspired by the fascinating carvings found in pre-Columbian Mayan ceramics and stonework, and the free-spirited abstract design of Matisse’s paper cutouts. Nowadays, I am also working with steel and to a lesser extent wood. I often combine ceramic elements with steel forms, or use the steel or wood to support ceramic work.
Creating ceramic work takes time. The piece is first shaped in the damp, water-based clay using a variety of hand tools and sometimes assisted by a slab-roller which creates flat slabs of clay ranging from 1/4″ to 1.5″ thick. The sculpture is then is air-dried on a rack for many days; if the piece is still damp when fired in a kiln it will explode due to the expansion of the moisture inside. After the piece is bisque fired to 1941 degrees F, it becomes hard yet still porous. At this stage I apply stains, underglazes, or glazes in various colors and finishes. Then the piece is fired completion at approximately 2185 degrees F (Cone 6). I once melted some small pieces of black lava at that temperature!